In the religious discrimination case there are many different elements from both sides of the case that lead to the firing of the employee and therefore the employee bringing the case before the court. The plaintiff was employed by the defendant at McFatty Burger. As a devout Muslim her religious doctrine indicated that she would wear a headscarf during the month of Ramadan. The defendant told her that she must remove the headscarf so that she would be in accordance with the company’s dress code policy. When the plaintiff would not comply with the rules that the defendant described, she was told that she would be fired for wearing her headscarf is she did so again. As a good employee she returned to the work the next morning when her employment was terminated. She suffered from the loss of income for two weeks while she looked for more work. When did find another job it was at a lower wage because she had to start anew. She felt that she was discriminated against due to her religious beliefs which is against the law in the United States. For this reason she filed suit against her employer.
There are a variety of reasons why bringing the suit to action was warranted for the plaintiff. The plaintiff is a devout Muslim. It is her religious doctrine that she is to wear a headscarf for the month of Ramadan. While it is not part of the McFatty Burger dress code, it is not excluded in the dress code either. If that had been the case, she would have address the problem upon being hired. When it became obvious that her boss was not pleased with the addition of the headscarf to her uniform, the plaintiff attempted to make accommodations to appease him. She suggested that should could still wear the visor that is part of the uniform over the headscarf but her boss was not happy. She brought the suit to action because she was fired from a job she enjoyed and relied on for the money due to the religious discrimination against her.
The defendant felt that his actions were legitimate and were not discriminatory. Mostly, his decision to terminate the employment of the plaintiff was due to his own lack of understanding of the Muslim faith and his own lack of strong religious faith. During the court proceedings he noted “I’ve done things before in my life where I had to make sacrifices so that I could be paid. I sort of felt that this wasn’t a huge sacrifice to remove her headscarf during working hours so she could keep her job.” This statement shows that he does not understand the demands that a devoutly religious person must make in order to practice their faith. Removing the headscarf is not a sacrifice that the plaintiff must make, it is a religious doctrine. He also equates the headscarf with wearing a hoodie.
The defendant felt that he was making an appropriate business decision because the plaintiff was being insubordinate by not dressing as the business code outlines. He stated that he did not want to fire the plaintiff as she was a productive and good employee. He attempted to make accommodations by offering her to take the month of Ramadan off. He was unable to offer her another position in the restaurant as there would be no place in the building where she was not visible to the public. He also offered into evidence a letter he received from a long time customer who was threatened by terrorists.
The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff because the defendant did not do enough to prevent the termination of the employee on the basis of religious discrimination. He was afraid of the discrimination that she personally was receiving by customers and thought that is was disturbing the entire staff. He did not understand that asking her to remove her headscarf was discriminatory and not legal.
In this case, to prevent discrimination of the religious headscarf, the defendant should have been accepting of the change during Ramadan. He should have made this accommodation for her on religious bounds. He should then have understood that the headscarf is not the equivalent of a hoodie and rather the equivalent of a cross on a chain. As the employee offered to wear the visor over the headscarf the issues should have ended there. As for the fear of personal comments to the employee, the employer should have organized discussions and training of his staff so there would be less disruption to daily activities .
There is a wide variety of different types of discrimination. It is illegal to discriminate people based on these different parameters . Those who have been discriminated against often bring a case against both the corporate entity and the individual supervisor who completed the discrimination. Greer found that Title VII and the ADEA was written to ensure “that individuals who act within their supervisory positions to render discriminatorily motived decisions are held accountable for those acts.” The corporate entity is also held liable because it is the corporate environment that creates the situation where discrimination is encourage or discouraged .
- Greer, C. (1994). “Who Me?”: A Supervisor’s Individual Liability for Discrimination in the Workplace. Fordham Law Review, 1834.
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2008, July 23). Best Practices for Eradicating Religious Discrimination in the Workplace . Retrieved from The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/best_practices_religion.html
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Types of Discrimination. Retrieved from The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types